Japanese Monkfish Hot Pot: From Gills to Stomach, Exploring Unique Parts (Day 3)

Embracing the full spectrum of flavors that seafood has to offer often leads to trying parts of fish that aren’t commonly used in Western cuisine.

Today, we’re exploring the traditional Japanese approach to monkfish by creating a hot pot dish rich with varied textures and tastes.

This process is not just about cooking but also about respecting the fish by utilizing as much of it as possible, from its liver and internal organs to gills and skin.

Your kitchen will transform into a culinary workshop where every piece of the monkfish is prepared with care and an understanding of how to best bring out its flavors.

As you begin, you’ll be immersed in the preparation steps that are crucial for creating a dish that’s both savory and aromatic.

Cleaning and treating the monkfish liver to rid it of its distinct aquatic scent sets the foundation for the dish, while the preparation of other parts involves meticulous cutting and cleaning techniques.

Moving on to crafting the soup base, the use of ingredients such as tofu, Chinese cabbage, and shitake mushrooms blends traditional flavors with your personal touch.

Since some of the ingredients are hard to come by in the west, we will be using a few substitutes that maintain the essence of the dish.

The dish takes some effort to make, but the transformation culminates in a hot pot that celebrates both the robust and the refined flavors, reflecting your respect for the fish and the culinary culture from which this dish originates.

Key Takeaways

  • Utilizing the entire monkfish enhances the depth and variety of flavors in the hot pot.
  • Preparing each part of the fish properly ensures a clean taste and rich broth.
  • The proper balance of ingredients, including substitutes, is key to achieving an authentic yet personalized hot pot experience.


To prepare the hot pot, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Tofu: Half a block, to be chopped and added to the pot.
  • Monkfish: You will be utilizing several parts of the fish including the liver, row, heart, stomach, fins, gills, and skin.
  • Chinese Cabbage: Two stems, roughly cut.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: The recipe calls for four, but due to size, use all available, stems removed.
  • Leek: Half a leek, sliced diagonally; if Japanese leek is unavailable, use a regular one.
  • Mizuna Greens: Replace with Rucula if Mizuna is not available.
  • Miso Paste: Essential for the flavor base.
  • Ginger: A spoonful worth, to help remove the fishy smell.
  • Sake: Five tablespoons as a substitute for both Sake and Mirin, plus a pinch of sugar to compensate for Mirin’s sweetness.
  • Water: Use pure water or enhance with previously made stock. A cup of water or 250 ml of stock is recommended.
  • Salt: A tablespoon worth, used in the liver preparation process.
  • Sake: Used to soak the monkfish liver to eliminate its distinct aroma.

Cleaning the Monkfish Liver

Before diving into the hot pot preparation, ensure the monkfish liver is properly cleaned. This will involve a few crucial steps to prepare it for cooking.

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Monkfish Liver:

  • Blood Removal: Begin by thoroughly cleaning the liver to remove any blood. A well-cleaned liver sets the foundation for a flavorful dish.
  • Membrane and Veins: Relieve the liver of its membrane and any visible veins to ensure a clean taste and texture.

Salt and Soju Soak:

SojuSufficient to cover the liver
Salt1 tablespoon

Leave the liver in this mixture for approximately 30 minutes. This process is important to mitigate the strong monkfish flavor.

Once soaked, rinse the liver again to eliminate any remaining blood residues.

Cleaning and Cutting Up the Organs, Gills, Bones, and Skin

Before cooking, it’s crucial to properly handle and prepare the organs.

Begin by thoroughly washing each organ under cold water to remove any residue.

After they are cleaned, proceed to cut the liver, heart, and stomach.

Next, boil up all the parts besides the liver in a pot. A lot of white scum will rise to the top, remove it with a spoon or ladle.

After a few minutes, take the pot off the stove and pour out the water.

Rinse the boiled organs in cold water. Place them to the side, for now, we will reintroduce them to the soup later.

Soup Base

To prepare the soup base, start by cleaning and mincing the monkfish liver.

Sauté it in a skillet until it begins to release fat.

For seasoning, integrate a few spoonfuls of miso into the skillet with the liver, stirring until well combined.

Next, add a customized blend of liquids—substitute mirin with additional sake, totaling five tablespoons, and incorporate a hint of sugar to achieve the mirin’s natural sweetness.

1Sake5 tablespoons
2SugarA pinch
3Stock (or water)250 ml
4Fresh Ginger (grated)1 spoonful

In the absence of a clay pot, any large pot will suffice for the next stage.

Transfer the sauce here and include the previously prepared monkfish organs and offcuts. Simmer to blend the flavors.

Continue adding the components to enrich the broth:

  • Tofu: Half a block, chopped.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: Whole, stems removed.
  • Chinese Cabbage: Two stems, coarsely cut.
  • Leek: Half a leek, diagonally sliced and halved.
  • Rucola Greens: As a substitute for mizuna, neatly sliced.

Simmer the mixture, adding water if necessary to adjust the consistency.

After a few minutes, arrange the rucola atop the simmering brew, letting the flavors meld together.

Serve while hot.

Finalizing the Hot Pot

Sample the broth to get a savory taste, potentially enriched by the liver’s flavor. Enjoy the various parts of monkfish—like the skin and stomach—which offer a unique culinary experience compared to what we are used to in the west.

For best enjoyment, dip pieces of meat in the savory sauce. The dish achieves a balance of fishy and savory notes without being overwhelming, providing a novel yet palatable taste sensation.

Japanese Monkfish Hot Pot

Torstein Rottingen
A savory Japanese hot pot that utilizes all parts of the monkfish.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4


  • 1 Frying pan
  • 1 Regular pot
  • 1 Clay pot or alternatively a medium-large regular pot


  • 1/2 block Tofu to be chopped and added to the pot.
  • 1 set Monkfish parts liver, row, heart, stomach, fins, gills, and skin.
  • 2 stems Chinese Cabbage roughly cut.
  • 4 whole Shiitake Mushrooms but due to size, use all available, stems removed.
  • 1/2 whole Leek sliced diagonally; if Japanese leek is unavailable, use a regular one.
  • 1 handful Mizuna Greens Replace with rucola if mizuna is not available.
  • 2 tbsp Miso Paste
  • 1 tbsp Ginger to help remove the fishy smell.
  • 5 tbsp Sake with a pinch of sugar added for the sauce
  • 1/2 cup Sake used in the liver preparation process.
  • 1 tbsp Salt also used in the liver preparation process.
  • 1 cup Water


  • Clean and prepare the monkfish liver by removing blood, membranes, and veins.
  • Soak the liver in Soju and salt for 30 minutes.
  • After soaking, rinse the liver and mince before stir-frying.
  • Simmer all organ meats and offcuts briefly to release impurities and rinse afterward.
  • Fry the minced liver until the fat starts releasing, then blend in the miso paste.
  • Add the Sake, and water or stock, sugar, and ginger, bringing the base to a gentle simmer.
  • Combine the tofu, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, leek, and finally, rucola to the simmering base.
  • Allow the hot pot to simmer for the flavors to meld before serving.


Japanese Monkfish Hot Pot: From Gills to Stomach, Exploring Unique Parts (Day 3)


Feel free to only use meat and liver if you are uncomfortable eating the other parts.
Keyword monkfish, monkfish liver
Torstein Rottingen


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